My mind spins and I have a hard time concentrating.
Then, my hand moves under the desk.
I pull my phone out of my pocket.
Without thinking I make a quick movement with my thumb.
Pulling down my inbox to refresh it.
I’m not expecting anything important, but my eyes are focused.
Full of excitement, like the time I unpacked a present on my 6th birthday.
A dull newsletter that I subscribed to five years ago.
Let’s have a read.
My eyes go through the words, but I have no idea what I’m reading.
I am just escaping from the tiredness.
My mind craving for distraction.
I blink my eyes and look up.
It feels like someone woke me up from a deep sleep.
Like a snap with the fingers to pull me out of my hypnosis.
A colleague stands in front of me.
After a quick talk he walks to his desk.
Shaking my head, I think: what am I doing?
I dunk my iPhone into my bag and say to myself: I need a break.
There is only one thing that I should be refreshing.
And it’s not my inbox.
The paradox of productivity
Often, when I want to get more done I keep on working.
Preparing a meeting while I’m bleary.
Cramming out five more emails when I’m drained.
Pushing myself to create a presentation when my creative juices are long gone.
More and more I see how this harms my productivity.
It’s time for a change of my perspective.
Resisting the temptation to keep my mind busy.
And to prioritize the art of doing nothing:
Gazing out of the window and letting my mind wander
Meeting with friends for a drink
Taking a walk outside and listen to Carlos Santana
Sleep for 10 hours
Watching an episode of La Casa de Papel
Doing nothing doesn’t produce any direct results.
But I truly belief they are crucial for my creativity.
There seems to be this paradox.
The more I make time for seemingly unproductive activities, the bigger the results that I produce each week.
Going from: shallow work, frustration and exhaustion. Lots of emails answered but no significant work done.
To: deep work, creativity and energy. Lots of free time for activities that reinvigorate my life.
The Christmas time was perfect to charge my batteries.
Spending time with family.
In 2019 I will embrace the art of doing nothing.
Taking more breaks.
Doing a step back and see the bigger picture.
When I do work, I want to make it count.
Being focused and produce high-quality work.
Once my energy levels start dropping, I will make a quick movement.
Not to refresh my inbox,
But to get up and walk away from my productive activities.
Clearing my mind –
For a rejuvenated start.